Pharmacy Tech School
How to Select the Right One Near Sylacauga Alabama
Now it’s time to choose and enroll in a pharmacy tech certificate or degree program near Sylacauga AL so you can get the right training to build a career in the rewarding profession of healthcare. Naturally the first step is to locate colleges that offer the degree or diploma that you would like to earn. Many future students begin by searching for schools that are within commuting distance of their home, and then comparing the tuitions. While tuition and location are significant factors when choosing a college, they are not the sole ones. Internship and job placement programs in addition to accreditation are equally important if not more so as location and cost. And if you are interested in attending classes at home in front of your computer as opposed to in a classroom, then searching for an accredited online college will also be included in your vetting process. We will cover these qualifications and some others that you will want to include when reviewing pharmacy technician schools. But first, let's take a look at what a pharmacy tech does, the certificate and degree options available, and the benefits of online courses.
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Pharmacy Tech Job Description
Pharmacy techs have many job responsibilities, but their main duty is to dispense prescription medicines. Since they are not licensed, when filling prescriptions they must perform under the supervision of a licensed Sylacauga AL pharmacist. They must also have excellent customer service abilities because they will be dealing directly with customers. Their attention to detail must be accurate when filling prescription medications per the pharmacist's instructions. And they must have an in-depth knowledge of pharmaceutical terminology in order that they can help customers with understanding directions for their medications as well as other pharmaceutical literature and information. On the other hand, under no circumstance should they ever offer medical advice pertaining to medications or anything else. Any such questions would be addressed by the pharmacist. Some of the regular daily services a pharmacy tech may perform are:
- Greet and help customers with prescriptions and other questions
- Dispense prescription medications under pharmacist direction
- Input customer and prescription information into pharmacy computer system
- Call customers when their prescriptions are ready for pick-up
- Prepare and submit customer insurance claim forms
- Stock shelves and audit and manage inventory
As a consequence of their job, pharmacy technicians will spend the majority of their working day standing. And working evenings and weekends is also typical, especially for newer techs with lower seniority. But the reward for occasional tired and aching feet or sometimes being required to work after hours is a very gratifying career helping customers with their health and wellness.
Pharmacy Technician Degrees and Diplomas
Students desiring to enroll in a pharmacy tech school are qualified provided that they have a high school diploma or equivalent. There are essentially 2 alternatives to training to be a tech regardless if you enroll in a community college or a vocational school. The first is to earn a certificate or a diploma, which usually can be accomplished in a year or less. These programs provide an overview to the various elements of pharmacology and pharmaceutical technology and normally include lab and classroom training. Many programs also include an internship at an accepted Sylacauga AL pharmacy or other facility. The second alternative is the Associate Degree program which usually takes about two years of studies. Although not needed for most entry level positions, it does furnish a more in depth education and can lead to more advanced positions or education in the future. Each program should furnish the proper amount of training to pass the Pharmacy Technician Certification Examination should the graduate choose to become certified.
Pharmacy Technician Certification Choices
It is not required to earn certification in all states, but a large number of graduates of pharmacy tech colleges choose to become certified in order to be more qualified when seeking employment. Also, a number of Sylacauga AL employers will only employ a technician that has earned certification. There are two organizations that offer certification:
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
- Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB).
The NHA requirements are that the applicant be at least 18 years old, has graduated from high school, has finished a training program, and has at least one year of professional experience. The PTCB only requires that the applicant has a high school diploma and passes their examination. Recertification is mandated every two years by each program, which can be satisfied by performing 20 hours of continuing education.
Pharmacy Tech Online Classes
Before choosing a pharmacist tech online program, it's necessary to realize that most programs do require that a substantial part of the training be carried out in a clinical setting. This is commonly fulfilled in an area Sylacauga pharmacy or hospital by means of an internship program. Students in most cases will have the opportunity to work under a seasoned pharmacy tech in order to acquire some real world experience. However the balance or non-clinical training may be taken over the internet in your Sylacauga AL home or via any available computer. This option is more accommodating for most students, particularly for those who keep working while earning their degree or certificate. And online colleges are often more affordable than traditional options. Tuition and costs for commuting and study materials can be decreased significantly. With both the clinical and the online training, a complete education is offered. But not all online colleges are accredited, which is critical for securing certification and employment (more on accreditation later). So check that each online school you are reviewing is accredited by an acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). If you are disciplined enough to study with a less supervised form of education, then online instruction may be the best solution for you.
Questions to Ask Pharmacy Tech Schools
After you have decided whether you wish to earn a certificate or degree, and if you want to enroll in an online program or go to classes on campus, you can begin to narrow your school alternatives. There are many pharmacy tech colleges to pick from in the Sylacauga AL area and throughout the USA, so you should create a list of qualifying questions so that you can contrast colleges and vocational schools. As we covered in our introduction, you will probably first start looking for programs that are within both your financial resources and commuting distance from your Sylacauga residence. If you are able to relocate or are going to enroll in an online pharmacy tech program, then location may not be significant. But there are a number of other variables that you need to consider so that you may properly compare programs. The following questions will assist you in gathering that information and help you to make your final choice.
Is the Pharmacy Tech School Accredited? Most pharmacy tech colleges and trade schools have obtained a national or regional accreditation. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies is the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Colleges earning accreditation from the ASHP have been screened and verified to offer a complete quality education. Online colleges may additionally earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which deals solely with distance or online learning. Be sure to check that the degree or certificate program in addition to the school you choose are accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping guarantee that you obtain a superior education, it may help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Also, certification may require that the program of training is accredited. And many Sylacauga AL employers will only hire entry level employees that have graduated from an accredited program.
Does the College Prep You for Certification? Certification is not mandated in all states, but a number of pharmacies desire that the techs they employ are certified. The pharmacy tech school needs to prep its students to pass the NHA or the PTCB examination. Students interested in obtaining NHA certification will additionally need one year of work experience. This condition may be met by entering a college sponsored internship program.
Does the School Sponsor Internship Programs? As we just discussed, the NHA mandates a year of professional experience for certification, which may be fulfilled through an internship program. One of the best ways to obtain hands on clinical experience as a pharmacy tech is to work out in the field. Most pharmacy tech degree or certificate programs also require clinical training prior to graduation and an internship is a great way to satisfy the requirement. Check if the colleges have a working relationship with Sylacauga AL area pharmacies, hospitals, or clinics for internship programs.
Does the School Give Job Placement Assistance? Getting that initial job in Sylacauga AL upon graduation, particularly with no experience, can be a challenging task without any support. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs. If they do, ask what their job placement rates are. A high job placement rate is an indicator that the school has a good reputation within the profession generating appeal for its graduates. It also means that it has a large network of pharmacy contacts where it can refer graduating students.
Where is the School Located? For many students, the college they choose will need to be within travelling distance of their Sylacauga AL home. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online obviously will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of local internships will be of concern. One thing to bear in mind is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or even out of your local area, you may have to pay a higher tuition. State colleges generally charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges generally charge a higher tuition to those students that don't reside within their districts.
What are the Class Sizes ? Unless you are the type of person that prefers to sit far in the rear of class or hide in the crowd, you will probably want a small class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and personalized instruction. Ask the schools you are reviewing what the typical teacher to student ratio is for their classrooms. If practical you may prefer to monitor one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to speak with some of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the pharmacy tech program as well.
Can the Program Accommodate your Schedule? And last you must verify that the pharmacist technician college you ultimately choose can furnish the class schedule you need. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while you attend school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Sylacauga AL area, make sure that they are available. If you can only attend part-time, find out if that is an alternative and how many courses or credit hours you would have to enroll in. Also, find out what the procedure is for making up any classes that you might miss as a result of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Sylacauga Pharmacy Tech School
Getting the ideal pharmacy technician training is an important first step to starting your career in a rewarding occupation where assisting customers with their wellness is your purpose. Traditionally, most pharmacy techs were trained "on the job". Nowadays, the majority of employers can no longer afford to do this and much prefer to hire formally trained techs. Training is provided by vocational and trade schools, technical colleges as well as community colleges. Many pharmacy technician programs incorporate both classroom and clinical work. As we have addressed in this article, it's necessary to choose a program that is accredited and will ready you for certification. This applies both for online classes as well as for those attended on campus. If you make use of our other tips you will be able to compare colleges so that you are sure to make the right selection. With the appropriate training and commitment you can achieve your goal to become a pharmacy technician in Sylacauga Alabama.